Spanish missionaries are credited with introducing figs to America in the 19th century, with the establishment of missions in California. It took awhile for the mission figs to reach the quality of European figs, but today California is one of the largest producers.
California figs are available year round in the U.S., as fresh from June through September and dried any time. Fresh is best of course, or dried organic, since non-organic dried figs are processed with sulfites, which some people are very sensitive to, especially those with asthma.
Since figs are a good source of potassium, consuming figs can help lower one's blood pressure. Fig's high fiber content, as with other fruits, is also a benefit in weight management. Other health claims are the fig leaf's anti-diabetic properties and the ability to lower triglycerides in the blood. Lastly, figs are good for the eyes, and appear to lower the risk of macular degeneration.
"Yummy Fig Bars"
10 oz. dried figs (cut into quarters; remove any stems)
1/4 cup brown sugar (packed down)
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
**(add to food processor)
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Crust and Topping
1-1/2 cups white flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or cardamom (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter
1 large egg
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line one 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, then butter the foil. Set aside.
Make Fig filling: In small saucepan mix the following ingredients: figs, brown sugar, orange peel, and 1/2 cup water. Cook over medium heat, stirring for 12 to 14 minutes (figs should be tender and liquid mostly absorbed). Pour filling into food processor container. Add orange juice and salt, and process until smooth. Transfer mixture to medium bowl and cool to room temperature.
Make Crust/Topping: In second bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. With fork or pastry cutter mix in butter and egg until mixture is crumbly.
Prepare bars: Place half of Crust/Topping mixture into prepared pan. Pat down evenly. Spread fig filling on top. Crumble remaining Crust/Topping mixture on top. Bake 55-60 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely on wire rack before cutting. Yield: 16 (2-inch) bars.
It couldn't find a date!
Figs the doorbell, it's broken!
--The Sweetest Fig by Chris Van Allsburg (1993) (ages 5-8)
(fantasy; a French dentist eats a fig
and has a wild dream that comes true)
--The Fig Eater by Jody Shields (2001)
(adult fiction; a murder mystery)
Fig Trees (documentary) 2009
(story of fight for access to Aids treatment in South Africa)
Fig (short film) 2011
(a young mother's love is tested in south Los Angeles)
--"A Fig for a Kiss" (video link)
Doherty-Palm-Topp Irish Folk (Germany)